With the world becoming more open to different food options, there has been a surge of chefs, restaurants, and food chains developing dishes catering to vegetarians and those who prefer plant-based eating over other foods. From plant-based drinks like almond milk to vegan burgers like the larger than life Beyond Burger, it’s clear that this form of eating isn’t just a fad – it’s a food lifestyle, and by the looks of it, it’s here to stay.
For many people, the question is – how does a lifestyle that has only become popular as of late change your life for the better? Read on as we look at the advantages of a plant-based diet for you and the environment:
The Benefits of Plant-Based Eating for the Environment
Most people are realizing now that climate change is a very real and very serious issue. And it is meat factories that reclaim acres upon acres of forest area to set up cattle farms that are contributing to the depletion of land, air, water, and our own bodies. The pollution, excessive deforestation, and emission of harmful greenhouse gases from factories are major contributors to global warming, damaging the ozone and the growing damage to the ecosystem.
Plant-based eating offers a more sustainable solution – producing a single pound of meat requires a few hundred to a few thousand gallons of water (depending on the type of meat)! This includes the diet of the animals as well as the production process in the factory. Alternatively, where 500 gallons may be used to produce a pound of beef, growing a crop of say, beans would use up around 200 gallons or less.
The Benefits of Plant-Based Eating for You
Meat and dairy products are usually considered to be a good source of protein and calcium. However, research has shown that prolonged meat and dairy consumption can be harmful to the body. Studies have shown that the consumption of meat and dairy products can cause a range of health issues such as:
- Colorectal cancer may be caused due to the frequent consumption of red meat.
- A study on over 6,000 people all over the age of 50 showed that a protein-based diet led to an increase in insulin activity (IGF-1), which has been directly linked with the increased risk of getting cancer.
- Animal studies have shown that frequent protein intake from meat and dairy sources can increase cancer risk and the risk of getting tumors as opposed to a plant-based diet.
- Heart disease may be caused due to frequent consumption of processed and red meats.
- 74% of Native Americans are lactose-intolerant, where the consumption of dairy products can lead to problems like an upset stomach, diarrhea, and so on.
Diets that consist mostly of vegetables, beans, and grains are linked with improved heart and brain health and a reduced cancer risk. Plant-based eating also has a range of other benefits, including:
- Reducing inflammation
- Helping you maintain a healthy weight
- Boosting your immune and metabolic systems
- Reducing the risk of certain diseases.
The best thing for you is to steer clear of other evils like sugar and fats when preparing your plant-based meals. This will allow you to create an ideal meal plan that can become a permanent part of your lifestyle.
Written By: Elevate Nutrition Founders, Jillian Salomone and Paul Salomone